Canadian Music: Issues of Hegemony and Identity

By Backus, Joan | Canadian University Music Review, January 1, 1996 | Go to article overview

Canadian Music: Issues of Hegemony and Identity


Backus, Joan, Canadian University Music Review


Beverley Diamond and Robert Witmer, eds. Canadian Music: Issues of Hegemony and Identity. Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press, 1994. xi, 615 pp. ISBN 1-55130-031-1 (softcover).

I: Beverley Diamond, "Issues of Hegemony and Identity in Canadian Music"; II: Maria Tippett, "4An Identity of Tastes and Aspirations': Educating Performers and Their Audiences"; Marie-Thérèse Lefebvre, "The Role of the Church in the History of Musical Life in Quebec"; Nina De Shane, "'Multiethnic' Dance in Ontario: The Struggle over Hegemony"; J.L. Granatstein, "Culture and Scholarship: The First Ten Years of the Canada Council"; Carole H. Carpenter, 'The Ethnicity Factor in Anglo-Canadian Folkloristics"; Beverley Diamond, "Narratives in Canadian Music History"; Jody Berland, "Radio Space and Industrial Time: The case of Music Formats"; III: James Robbins, "What Can We Learn When They Sing, Eh? Ethnomusicology in the American State of Canada"; Line Grenier and Jocelyne Guilbault, "'Authority' Revisited: The Other' in Anthropology and Popular Music Studies"; R. Murray Schafer, "Canadian Culture: Colonial Culture"; Lucien Poirier, "A Canadian Music Style: Illusion and Reality"; John Lehr, "As Canadian As Possible ... under the Circumstances: Regional Myths, Images of Place and National Identity in Canadian Country Music"; Robert A. Wright, '"Dream, Comfort, Memory, Despair': Canadian Popular Musicians and the Dilemma of Nationalism, 1968-1972"; IV: Norman Buchignani, "Canadian Ethnic Research and Multiculturalism"; Regula Burckhardt Quereshi, "Focus on Ethnic Music"; Robert B. Klymasz, "From Immigrant to Ethnie Folklore: A Canadian View of Process and Transition"; Annemarie Gallaugher, 'Trinbago North: Calypso Culture in Toronto"; Alfred Young Man, 'The Metaphysics of North American Indian Art"; Michael Kennedy and Robert Campbell, 'The Kennedy-Campbell Debate"; Neu V. Rosenberg, "Ethnicity and Class: Black Country Musicians in the Maritimes"; Frederick A. Hall, "Musical Yankees and Tories in Maritime Settlements of 1 Sth-Century Canada"; R. Brunton, J. Overton, and J. Sacouman, "Uneven Underdevelopment and Song: Culture and Development in the Maritimes"; Andra McCartney, "Inventing Metaphors and Metaphors for Invention: Women Composers' Voices in the Discourse of Electroacoustic Music"; V: Steve Wingfield, "From Culture Shock to Cultural Exchange: Trichy Sankaran, Karnatak Musician in Transition"; Suzanne Meyers Sawa, "The Odyssey of Dahlia Obadia: Morocco, Israel, Canada"; Gordon E. Smith, "Lee Cremo: Narratives about a Micmac Fiddler"; Framziska von Rosen, " 'Thunder, That's Our Ancestors Drumming*: Music As Experienced by a Micmac Elder"; Patrick Hutchinson, 'The Work and Words of Piping."

If it is true, as Linda Hutcheon and others have suggested, irony is a central and recurring image in our postmodern and postcolonial Canada, we might well take particular pleasure in the marked upswing of publications on Canadian music that have appeared in the past few years. Even as the country seems to be careering towards self-destruction, Canadian musicology appears to be finding its own voice. This new-found confidence is especially evident in the collection of essays titled Canadian Music: Issues of Hegemony and Identity, edited by Beverley Diamond and Robert Witmer. Here we have not only another useful anthology for the music historian and teacher but, more significantly, a new model for the writing of Canadian music history.

In editing this collection, Diamond and Witmer have assembled a variety of essays (many of which have been previously published) that collectively serve to address the writing of music history in Canada. The essays are grouped into four broad categories that explore issues relating to Canadian music-specifically, issues of power/control and issues of identity. Obviously these issues are not mutually exclusive, but rather play back and forth against one another, and this is precisely what the essays in the anthology are made to do. …

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